Sara Webb – Meditation is Medicine

Engage your listening senses with this conversation I had the pleasure of having with Sara Webb. Sara Webb is an author, inspirational speaker, and meditation healer empowering seekers to go from stress to success. Her life mission is to inspire people to access the power within themselves by teaching pocket-sized meditation techniques to improve daily happiness so people can bring the best versions of themselves to their own lives.

Visit Sara’s website at www.sarawebbsays.com
Check out Sara’s new book here: Amazon – Balboa Press – Barnes & Noble

Listen to the full conversation for free here.

During this conversation we discussed:

  • the importance of daily meditation
  • her passion for public speaking in the corporate environment
  • how to build trust after being harmed
  • how Sara has been able to recover from little “t” and BIG “T” trauma in her life
  • the role recovery has played in her healing journey
  • her books and her writing process
  • the importance of yoga practice in her life

And so MUCH more!

Remember to visit Sara’s website at www.sarawebbsays.com
Also don’t forget to check out Sara’s new book here: Amazon – Balboa Press – Barnes & Noble

Below is an excerpt form the conversation I had with Sara.

Todd McLaughlin

What is an example of a public speaking event that you’ve done recently.

Sara Webb

I’ve done all manner of things. I do a lot of corporate events, working directly with business owners and managers in order to help their staff deal with stress. I mean, a lot of times, we don’t realize the great power that we have with our breath. 

If we can realize that when we’re in that fight or flight mode, that we’re not breathing properly, we’re not breathing from the belly. That’s a physiological, ancient physiology that we have carried over from when we were hunters and gatherers. You know, this autonomic nervous system that we have breeds for us, and beats our hearts and controls our sweat glands and salivary glands and blinking. But when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, that’s what we typically call the “fight or flight.” We begin chest breathing from the upper part of our chest, which is really great if we need to actually fight or flee. 

But when it’s traffic and deadlines, and our bosses and our spouses and our kids, it can really build up and flood our blood with cortisol. We’ve heard some about that, and people are now pushing pills to get rid of cortisol when really, if we could just get in touch with what’s going on in our bodies, and learn how to belly breathe we can fix this problem. This is such an easy, portable, free way to tap into what’s going on in our bodies. And then people can learn how to process stress and actually ground themselves in where they are, especially in the workplace. 

We have to work around people who maybe aren’t our favorite people. And so I do a lot of corporate trainings during the week. My wife is a dentist and so I got started doing that at her corporate gatherings. I do conferences and private conferences. I’ve done sweet 16 parties. I mean, I’ve spoken at sober retreats, you name it, I’ve done it. And I really just enjoy interacting with people in that way. Where they always come away and they say, wow, I really think I learned something new. I think that there’s a couple of simple facts that most people don’t understand about meditation. 

Because as I mentioned, that’s my real passion. I kind of trick people into learning about meditation by talking about stress, because meditation is that wonderful way for us to get rid of our stress. And I am just such a seeker, I wanted to know, why is it that meditation works. And I’ll give you a couple of facts….. all around us at every single moment, it doesn’t matter if we’re on top of the hill, or in a busy street the scientists have calculated that we have access to about several billions of bits of data. And the human brain is pretty amazing and can process around 11 million bits per second. But we’re only conscious of between 40 and 50 of the 11 million bits per second that our brains and our bodies have access to. So I did the math there, that means we’re conscious of .04% of everything that’s actually being processed by our brains and our bodies. And 99.96% of everything that’s available to us is being processed by our subconscious. 

Now we have five senses. And we have 11 million sensory receptors, the 10 million or so of the sensory receptors are dedicated to one sense, our eye site. So if you want to access to 99.96% of information that’s already inside of you shut off access to 10 million of the 11 million sensory receptors, ie. close your eyes and go inside. That’s where the magic is, that’s where the subconscious can begin to bubble up. 

Because we’re literally getting into the brainwaves where our subconscious lives, if we only stay in beta and beta is stressed, then we’re not going to ever be able to have access to that. The only time during waking hours when we drop into that subconscious state, which is the theta wave in between alpha and delta, which is where most meditation is. Deep sleep is theta. 

When some people are stressed, they like to drive, or they like to go and work on something that is repetitive. That’s because when we drop into repetitive things our subconscious is in control because you don’t have to think about it anymore. That allows the subconscious to bubble up, but our eyes are still open. And so think about how much more powerful it is to actually close the eyes, and then go inside.

Todd McLaughlin

Yeah, good point. That’s interesting. Can you give me an example or an idea of when you decided or felt that you wanted to heal the trauma that you had experienced? Was there some sort of catalyst that I mean, I’m guessing that there probably was something inside that said, “Okay, I realized something has happened. But I’d prefer just not to look at it.” What was the catalyst that helped you to turn that corner and feel like you wanted to be brave and process and heal and go through the therapy to come out the other side?

Sara Webb

Great question. I mean, I’ve always known about what happened. It’s just that I repressed it, I told my sister I did not go to the police, I barely told anyone much less dealt with it myself. When I began to get sober, which started in the end of 2018, I didn’t actually succeed with continuous sobriety until the end of 2019. So it took me a little over a year, almost a year and a half to actually be sober, and then an event would happen and we have this in the general collective that like, alcohol can be used to de-stress, which is an absolute lie. It actually causes stress in the body. So it took me a little while, but once I started playing with sobriety and had bouts of sobriety, I realized most poignantly that I needed alcohol in order to be intimate with my now ex husband. And I knew what even though I was gay, through college and a little bit after college, I called myself bisexual, and I only dated women, but I repressed that because I wanted to have a baby and I knew that my very strict Southern Baptist parents would not accept me for who I am. And to this day, they do not accept me for who I am. So in answer to your question, yeah, when when we get sober a lot of people deal with anger that is kind of unexplained. They’re just not really sure why, but it’s because we have been repressing by drinking. And then we have no outlet to numb with. I didn’t have that initially. 

But what I did have was when I got re-married, and we started blending households, because I have a biological child, she has two you know, that’s, that’s no joke. And I started noticing that my go to response was anger, which, and I put out a reel on this recently, you know, usually anger is, is not actually a primary emotion, it’s a secondary emotion. And it indicates that there’s hurt underneath either sadness or fear usually. 

So I started seeing a transpersonal interpersonal hypnotherapist in order to deal with the anger. And that’s when memory surfaced. And I was able to deal with them in a really beautiful way. It wasn’t immediate, and it certainly wasn’t easy. But healing requires injury and healing hurt. The result is always worth it.

Todd McLaughlin

Wow. Well, I appreciate you being so honest and sharing your story. That’s incredible. I think it’s empowering, because I know that there’s obviously a lot of us who probably have experienced trauma. Well, I guess, like you said, there’s the “big T” and the “little t.” So would you say that everybody has had some sort of “little t” trauma? Like, for example, someone made fun of us on the playground? A million or two different things that have happened could have happened. How many of us have experienced the “big T” trauma? What do you think the percentages are? I mean, like half the world, a third of the world, one in 100? Because I just wonder that sometimes it seems like I don’t know that anybody could get through life without having some type of “big T” experience. But maybe that’s because if I do have experience, then I think well, maybe probably everyone has. Perhaps it’s a smaller minority a smaller group of people that have. Do you have any insights into that?

Sara Webb

I wish I had the statistics! I’m definitely going to look it up. But even if we just look at, like, reports of sexual trauma with women, it’s one in three. And I didn’t report and I know a lot of other people who didn’t. So if you just look at that, it’s a high percentage. And and let’s not diminish that “little T” trauma. 

Because it’s all relative, and vibrationally, if we just look at it. So everything that happens in our lives before the development of the prefrontal cortex would start around the age of 10. So everything from pretty much ages, like four to eight is when our brains are in that meditative state, we haven’t gone up into beta. Around the age of 10, is when we really fully start to inhabit beta. 

Everything before that our brains take in as beliefs, basic beliefs about how the world is so for somebody like me, I saw people drinking, I grew up outside of New Orleans. I mean, drinking is just what people do. And I’m sure that’s for a lot of the world, you know, it’s just it’s very common. And so one of the beliefs that I had is that alcohol is safe. And if you have a “little T” trauma, “big T” trauma, some uncle that habitually made fun of you, a person on the playground who did something that could be seen as traumatic when it’s done, even once or twice, we can carry that vibration that belief with us into our adulthood and continue to attract those things into our lives. Because it’s something that we need to heal.

So it doesn’t matter if it’s seemingly small, it might be perpetuating itself as to a lack of abundance in our lives or a thinking that no one likes us. Then that can continue to play out in the workplace. And, you know, social groups, it doesn’t matter where it is. Because we’re basically here to heal.

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Day 7 – No Shave Yoga Event – Yoga with David Miliotis

  
Yoga with David Miliotis

This weekend Native Yoga is hosting Ashtanga Yogi, David Miliotis, for a series of workshops and practice sessions. David is originally from coastal Los Angeles and he now resides in Orange County, California. He flew here for a return visit to Native Yoga Center and we feel really lucky to have him here.
  
I originally met David in Mysore, India practicing at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Center in 2004. I was set up next to him one morning and I was so inspired by his practice that I immediately afterward introduced myself to him. I learned then that he was living in Santa Barbara and that he was teaching Mysore practice there. I remember thinking that he seemed really down to earth and I appreciated the time he took to speak with me. 

  
Fast forward 10 years and a friend in South Florida reintroduced us and we invited him to come and teach here at Native last year. It was such a treat to have his perspective and skill at our studio that we are honored to have him return this weekend. 
During last nights class he took us through the Primary Series in a really fun and engaging manner. One thing that is obvious when practicing with David is that he has cultivated an impeccable connection with breath, bandha and drishti. He has the ability to verbally communicate the elements of internal anatomy in a practical fashion which produces a deep sense of connection between the breath and the perception of the mind. He also has a great ability to connect with the students and give pointers for all levels to help the engagement process. I really enjoyed the practice immensely.

  
Today we return for a session at 12-3pm titled Setting the Foundation: Breathing, Bandhas & the Niyamas and tomorrow, Sunday at 12-3pm for a workshop called Ascending the Mountain: Backbends from Primary into Intermediate.
David is a member of our team #yogabeardsunite and we are working together to raise money for https://www.no-shave.org/team/yogabeardsunite during the month of November. Get inspiration from David by checking out website at http://www.ashtangayogaorangecounty.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AshtangaYogaOC/?fref=ts. 

The Evolution of Our Practice

The Evolution of Our Practice
Anytime we examine the process of evolution it is important to have a clear memory of the past. If we can distinctly recall our history and also take an assessment of where we are now, then it is possible to examine what has occurred and notice if and how we have progressed.

  
At some point, in the realm of yoga practice, we have the opportunity to reflect on how our practice has evolved. Regardless of how long we have been practicing this theory can hold true. The reality is that one would need to have at least two practice sessions complete to be able to observe the progression of the practice. We can notice how our perception has shifted from one repetition to the next. This ability seems to become enhanced the longer we are involved in and with a practice.
Do you remember the first time you encountered yoga? It is important to try to recall the feelings we had regarding our first experience. It is really interesting to try to recollect the reason why we decided to try practicing yoga in the first place. There are multiple reasons why we might find interest in trying yoga. Perhaps it is to try a new form of exercise, lose some weight, increase our flexibility and strength, or even to delve deeper into our understanding of spirituality and self inquiry. Regardless of the reason, if we can first become clear about the “why”, we can begin to see how we have grown since that time.

  
Do you feel like you have progressed since your first encounter with yoga? I feel progression is a lot easier to measure once you establish your self in a practice for a long duration. Exactly how long? That will depend on each person. I remember the first time I tried yoga it was in the form of Mantra yoga and it required chanting words using japan mala(108 beads strung together to serve as a tool to keep focussed on the mantra recitation). I quickly found that it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be but I did notice some positive effects very soon thereafter. I did not stick with it though for any continuation so it is challenging to say how effective it could of been had I made a daily ritual of it. I mention this because progression seems to rely heavily on endurance with dedication to one form of yoga for an extended span of time.
If we were to come to the realization that we do not feel like we have progressed this would probably be due to two factors. One, are we still practicing? The second being, do we have faith the practice will take us to our goal? If the answer to the first question is no, then I think it is probably obvious as to why we don’t see any transformation. If the answer is yes and we still do not feel like there is an unfolding of development then the big question becomes, do we believe in the method of practice to begin with? I say this is the “big question” because believing in what you are doing is one of the golden keys to success. If from the core of your being you feel that your method of practice is sound and true, then a favorable outcome is bound to occur. Faith constitutes a cornerstone in the path to progress.

  
I found myself reflecting on these questions today as we are coming to the close of our Third Series Teacher Training with Tim Miller. I feel like these two weeks have been an incredible opportunity for growth and development. When I first started practicing asana yoga I undoubtedly was attracted to the challenge of the posture practice. I was enthralled with trying to deepen my poses purely in the realm of the physical. To be very honest I am excited about this aspect of the practice more than ever before. Exposing myself to this group of practitioners has inspired me beyond measure. As I probe the question a bit more deeply though I can’t help but feel that my understanding of yoga and its purpose is what is truly evolving. Is it because of the asana I am feeling so much indebtedness? Perhaps it is because Tim has opened me up to a multitude of complimentary practices (asana, pranayama, bhakti, kirtan and mantra) that I am feeling such a deep sense of gratitude? Regardless, I feel that my whole focus has radically shifted from a place of desiring progress through the physical to a place of thankfulness for the transpersonal. That is an appreciation with states or areas of consciousness beyond the limits of personal identity. In some miraculous way I feel that I have been able to shed a few of my inhibitions and the moral support of the gathering of these folks has given me a renewed sense of accomplishment. Thank you for this as I am deeply beholden.

A Day of Rest and Reflection

  
Today is Saturday and our day of rest from asana practice. One thing that I really love about the Ashtanga method is that it is recommended to take at least one day off per week and to not practice on the new or full moon. Sometimes people can get obsessed with the asana practice and perhaps if this rule was not in place some people would hammer out an intense practice every single day. Personally that would not be an issue for me. The fact that there is a prescribed 6 day a week practice schedule is something that takes a lot of time to really cultivate and maintain. I also think that no practice on moon days, the new and full moon, is the best invention since sliced bread. I adhere to the Saturday off idea mainly because that is what I learned from Guruji and Tim, but it is good to note that you can make that day any day you choose. Yet still the 6 days, “you do!”
When Tamara and I went to Mysore we asked the assistance of someone to help us find a room to rent while we were there. The gentle Indian man said “I can’t help you tomorrow because it is moon day, yet the following day I can.” In this case he was not an “asana” practitioner (I don’t think) but he took moon days off from work anyhow. This blew our mind. We had never come across this concept before. When we were practicing Bikram yoga never once was this notion mentioned, nor was there any talk of breathing either but that is an entirely different story. I have to admit that right away I thought that moon days were a brilliant concept regardless that it was a foreign idea. Now as a 6 day a week practitioner (as best I can as a family man), I think moon days are incredible. Now every two weeks, you get a day to rest your body as well as the Saturday. I think that the element of the fixed day off one day per week, combined with the extra two moon days off on alternating intervals, creates a variation of change within a consistent structure. 
If you don’t adhere to this rule you probably are thinking, “Todd is getting a little out there.” I promise though that if you try this it will seem like the most remarkable concept ever created. That is little background story of why then, today we took the morning off to rest. We had Teacher Training session today from 1 PM to 6 PM yet Tim still honored this tradition by giving us a five hour tour of the third chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It was remarkable as those of you who have met Tim can imagine. In his First and Second Series Teacher Trainings he covers the first and second chapters of the Yoga Sutras. So this was the first time I have had the privilege of having him go sutra by sutra and take the time to allow us to share our thoughts about what they could potentially mean. Reading the Yoga Sutras can be a lifetime of study because they are challenging to decipher. The Sanskrit language allows multiple translations for every word so that over the years many translators have given different meanings for each sutra. There is usually a fairly common thread amongst most meanings, non the less, they can be quite confusing to contemplate at first glance. That is what it is so interesting to have someone who has been contemplating this over for some thirty years to give their take on their meaning. Since meeting Tim and having been inspired to try this myself. I have enjoyed this process even though sometimes it just seems so perplexing. The cool thing is that the theory informs the practice and the practice informs the theory. How I viewed the Yoga Sutras and their interpretations has changed radically over the years. As I learn a new concept from them I try to apply it to my yoga and meditation practice. As my yoga and meditation practice evolves my understanding of the meaning behind the words also transforms. 
We covered a lot today yet there was one that I particularly enjoyed. Sutra III.27 states Bhuvana jnanam surye samyamat. It can be translated as: By samyama on the Sun comes knowledge of the entire universe. The word samyama means the “catch-all” process of concentration, meditation and absorption (dharana, dhyana and samadhi). Tim stated, “The sun is the eye of the world. If we become one with the eye of the world we can see all things.” I really liked this view point. The concept of the sun being the eye of the world reminds me of the idea that stars are just the holes to heaven (Jack Johnson fans will catch that one). To keep this practical I feel this sutra is beneficial because it encourages us to open our minds to greater possibility. There is the potential that we can learn from the Yoga Sutras and experience for ourselves the liberation that the great sages have been trying to verbalize and describe for eons.